E-tailer cuts licensing costs with Linux server

An online retailer has saved more than £56,000 in software licensing costs after moving its IT platform from Microsoft Windows to Linux.

An online retailer has saved more than £56,000 in software licensing costs after moving its IT platform from Microsoft...

Windows to Linux., an e-business retailer launched in 2000, has moved its Hewlett-Packard servers, which manage accounting, transaction, product catalogue and warehouse management, from Windows Server 2003 to Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Server.

"Under a Linux environment our server software licensing costs are a tenth of what it was costing us under Microsoft," said Angus Gow, programme director at

The business, which employs 50 staff, has also reduced IT staff costs by £15,000 per head by hiring Linux administrators rather than Microsoft administrators to manage its servers, said Gow.

As part of the project, the company replaced its Windows-compatible enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with an open-source Apache-based ERP system called "Open for Business".

The older Windows-compatible application, which cost £80,000 in licensing costs a year, had begun to crash when demand peaked at Christmas, and could not deal with more than 6,000 orders a day, said Gow. "By using an open-source ERP system, we also have no licensing costs," he said.

Moving to a SuSE Linux Enterprise Server has also enabled the company to extend the life of the four-year-old servers that were unable to run newer versions of Windows.

The online retailer has customised the Linux operating system so that these servers now run in clusters to provide processing support to its ERP application.

Gow said that Microsoft software is still used on the desktop, but that in January 2008 the company would also begin a review to look at migrating to open source alternatives.



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